This page contains information on the commonly used precious metals.
I do not normally work in Welsh Gold as I find it very difficult to be sure it was mined in Wales. If you buy Welsh gold please ensure that there is a guarantee of substance that it is Welsh gold. If you buy jewellery that claims to have Welsh gold in it, ensure that there is a clear indication of how much Welsh gold is in the piece. It requires very sophisticated (and expensive) analysis to distinguish between gold originating in Wales and other parts of the world. One final warning rose gold is readilly available and is not an indication that it is Welsh gold. Buyer beware.
You will find an interesting and amusing piece on Welsh gold on the David Morgan website www.davidmorgan.com. The piece is well worth reading.
Rhodium plating is widely used in jewellery manufacture to produce a uniform hard, white and bright finish which does not tarnish. It is used on platinum for brightness;on white gold to produce an even colour (batches of white gold can often have different tones of white), and on silver to cover fire stain and prevent tarnishing. Rhodium is one of the platinum group of metals, very expensive, currently the most expensive precious metal, and is only suitable in jewellery for plating purposes.
There have been two fairly recent developments in precious metals which are of interest to discerning customers. The first, is the availability of palladium. Palladium is a precious metal in the platinum group and looks like white gold, though it use to be not quite as expensive as 9ct gold. This is no longer the case. It is an essential metal for catalytic convers in cars and is mainly mined in Russia. The trade war between America and Russia has resulted in it now being one of the highest cost metals in the world.Work on palladium weighing more than 1gram must be hallmarked. It is not a metal I recommend for jewellery.The second interesting development, is that of tarnish and fire-stain resistant silver. Silver has two irritating properties. The first is that of developing a thin copper rich surface when soldered or annealed - this has a grey appearance and must be removed or plated over and the second is that it tarnishes quickly. It is claimed that the new silver alloy reduces both.
Gold is a very versatile metal. It is malleable and ductile. It’s a good conductor of heat and electricity, immune to tarnish, and resistant to acids - it is available in a range of carats.
When the term carat (as opposed to when it is used with precious stones) is used with gold it is a measurement of quality. 24 carat gold is pure gold and too soft to be used effectively.
Increasing proportions of other metals are added to pure gold to make it more appropriate for the intended application. 18ct gold is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metals while 14ct gold has 10 parts of other metals and 9ct has 15 parts of other metals.
The colour of gold can also be changed according to what metals are added. For example, in the case of white gold, silver, palladium and nickel are added to make the white colour. For red gold a lot of copper is added.